This is Part Two of a three-part blog post. If you missed Part One click HERE.
On 14th September, I bid adieu to Canada by road from Ottawa to Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA).
Ordinarily the road trip would take 18 hours if you were to drive all the way non-stop, but since my colleague Roy and I had time to kill, we drove using the southern route via New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, West Virgina, Indiana, Ohio (nicknamed “Garissa” due to its considerable population of Somalis), Chicago and Wisconsin.
Inasmuch as it may seem like a ridiculously long ride, we were driving a GMC Acadia SUV with embedded onboard Wi-Fi which made the ride tolerable.
At the risk of being pelted with stones by my friends who are Euro-car diehards, I must admit that the American built GMC is a behemoth like the Brontosaurus of a vehicle with swanky, expensive-feeling interiors and packs a powerful punch under the hood that grunts rather than purrs in its show of might.
With lots of drive-thrus fast food chain of franchised restaurants along the interstate freeways, can’t remember being hungry at any point. No edacious moments for that matter.
I thoroughly enjoyed viewing the scenic beauty nestled in the background off the road which contributed to the relaxing, easy drive.
Anyone who follows me on SnapChat (@sidoman82) will attest to this. I was the ‘DJ Khaled’ for those moments, almost shared every important snap on ‘my story’ (timeline) to my relatives, friends, and followers.
I say an easy drive because on the interstates there were no road bumps, no potholes, no traffic police and best of all: no traffic!
From Wisconsin, I used a Public Bus (the most efficient service I have ever experienced) to Minneapolis, MN — the Eastleigh of the USA — where I got to hang out with friends and their families and learn how they make ends meet in a foreign land.
Spending time with them reaffirmed to me that the Somali community is made up of mostly warm, hospitable, honest and hardworking individuals.
The downside though, is the hardworking Barber (young man) who hires Rolls-Royce car for an hour or so, just to SnapChat to mesmarize his peers especially in less previlaged countries.
One source of Tahriib, if you ask me.
On 19th September I took a flight from Minneapolis to Los Angeles, California which is home to the country’s film industry including the famed Hollywood.
I then proceeded to San Diego, California.
I kid you not, this city boasts more dental clinics than there are “miraa bases” in Eastleigh (Nairobi)!
I was reliably informed that the dental clinics make a killing from customers who go in search of a Hollywood Smile!
Of course, with high prices for the quality involved per dental unit, not in anyway comparable to the price of Miraa from the aforementioned kiosks – just an exaggeration to drive the point home for local mindsets.
Having spent over two weeks in San Diego interacting with people with super-white teeth, I flew to San Francisco Bay on 6th October — home to Silicon Valley.
While in the Valley I visited the HQs of Facebook, Twitter, Uber, Oracle and Google.
At Menlo Park (MPK), which is home to Facebook, the cool thing to do is to take a selfie next to the big thumb up sign — as I did (so I am cool) — and make it your Facebook profile.
Apart from that, there is not much else to do there unless you know a guy or girl who works at Facebook – a software engineer, which is highly unlikely based on where I come from.
In case there was one or two you have to appreciate that these are peoples’ places of work and can therefore not access the office blocks. However, this is only possible with a bookmarked prior appointment.
Having completed my tour of the Silicon Valley, I rented a car and drove back to San Diego and then flew to Houston, Texas where I was hosted by friends and colleagues.
All this happened (while California) with the sacrifice of my best friend, Moha AKA Mafats, who took some off from work to make this happen. I am really grateful for his splendid show of kindness.
Not forgetting my good friend Asey in the same city. He took me for many rides, notwithstanding, swimming in the beach – Mission Beach San Diego. We laugh a lot with this dude.
On 10th October I jetted from Houston to New York where I spent most of the next day taking in what the Big Apple had to offer.
Curtains fell on my tour on 12th October as I exited the great Super-power from John F Kennedy International Airport, Kenya-bound via Dubai.